The Fossil Ridge volleyball team missed the postseason by one game in 2015 and will look to junior setter Cassidy Zellmer to help get over the hump this year.
Zellmer was an all-district selection last season for the Lady Panthers, and coach Hollie Huston said Zellmer has such a level of tenacity on the court that Ridge has implemented a system that will allow the junior setter to do what she does best — lead.
“Cass brings a contagious element of grit to our team,” Huston said. “We have opted to run a 5-1 to be able to tap her leadership more. She really has the respect of her teammates and is just a good, hard-working kid.”
One thing Zellmer certainly provides the team is a positive attitude.
“Last year, even though our record did not indicate a winning season, I feel like we played strong and worked well together as a team,” Zellmer said. “A few critical games knocked us out of playoffs, but we never gave up, and that shows how hard we worked and wanted a playoff bid.”
The Lady Panthers finished 17-20 on the season with a 6-8 mark in district play last year, and Zellmer said she tried to do whatever she could to help her team win.
“I try to bring teamwork and encourage all the players to play their best,” Zellmer said. “ It’s not about one person in volleyball, it’s about how we all work together as a team for every point of every game. We never give up. We play hard until the end, no matter the score.”
A member of the National Honor Society at Fossil Ridge, Zellmer said that she worked to improve her game this summer by taking advantage of a lot of learning opportunities.
“I did several camps and clinics for volleyball skills and conditioning, including the Great Lakes Volleyball Camp for setters,” Zellmer said. “I had a personal trainer for vertical training, conditioning and did several setting private (lessons).”
Huston said that she expects Zellmer to be a steadying presence on the court for Fossil Ridge this season and said that her personality has rubbed off on most of her teammates.
“Cass has good court awareness,” Huston said. “She has a pretty good concept of running an offense that produces the kill. She’s the kid that teammates ask to help them get some extra reps before practice, the unanimous vote for team captain and is a lead-by-example athlete. We have a lot of kids in our program that fit that description. It’s going to be a fun year.”